REDS capture fifth straight AUS men's hockey title with 4-1 win in Game 3 over Saint Mary's

Photo by James West
Photo by James West

(FREDERICTON, N.B.) The UNB REDS are, once again, the champions of Atlantic University Sport men's hockey. 

The REDS beat the Saint Mary's Huskies 4-1 Thursday night, in the deciding game of the 2023 Subway AUS Championship Series. 

Justin Nolet's (Mississauga, Ont.) first goal of the playoffs, midway through the second period, stood as the winner. 

"I was in the rush a little bit and I pulled up before I went down and (Emmett) Sproule found me and I closed my eyes and shot, and luckily it went in," said Nolet, who played in just his second game of the playoffs on Thursday. 

The home team struck first, on the power-play, at the 3:47 mark of the first period. 

Adam McCormick (Waterville, NB) fed a cross-ice pass to Simon Pinard (Drummondville, Que.) who wired a slap-shot past Huskies' goalie Jeremy Helvig (Kingston, ON). 

The REDS nursed the lead for most of the opening period, until a shot by Huskies' defenceman Connor Olson (London, Ont.) found its way through a crowd and past Samuel Richard (Ste. Catherine, Que.) in the REDS net. 

The REDS dominated the second period, outshooting and outscoring the Huskies. 

Goals by Nolet and Brady Gilmour (Grafton, Ont.) staked the home team to a 3-1 lead heading to the final frame. 

Benjamin Corbeil (Granby, Que.) and Emmett Sproule (Collingwood, Ont.) assisted on both of UNB's second period goals. 

Corbeil was named Subway Player of the Game. 

Ross MacDougall (St. Stephen, N.B.) scored UNB's fourth goal, near the midway point of the third. 

For the REDS, this is their fifth straight conference championship and 19th in program history. 

"It feels good," said Pinard, named the Most Valuable Player of the AUS Playoffs. "I think everyone was doubting us at the beginning of the year and now we've proved them wrong, so we're happy about that." 

"It's a great honour," he said of the MVP award. "My main goal was to win the AUS, but we're still hungry and we want to win the nationals, so we just getting started here." 

"It sucks, it's disappointing," said Huskies' captain Keith Getson (Bridgewater, N.S.). "We thought that at the end of the day we had a team that could take our league title." 

Getson admits the game got away from them in the second period. 

"They came out and killed penalties in the second, they basically took over the game," he said. "A couple of bounces, a couple nice goals, and we couldn't get anything generated in the third period. We struggled a little bit tonight, but at the end of the day I think that'll turn around." 

The REDS outshot the Huskies 39-21. 

"I think we were tough on them," Pinard said of the Huskies. "We just tried to put pucks on net, and we buried the chances that we had. I think we did a great job on our D-zone, kept the puck on the boards, get it out quick, I think that's what made the difference." 

Up next for both teams, the U SPORTS Championship, in Charlottetown, March 16-19. 

As conference champions, the REDS will draw the higher seed. 

"We worked so hard all year just to get here," said Nolet. "This is just a start for us. We have bigger goals down the line in the next couple weeks, but it's an amazing feeling." 

Source: Andy Campbell for UNB Athletics